Shumon Ahmed, Metal Graves, 2009. Courtesy of the artist, the Samdani Art Foundation and Project 88, Mumbai.
The Samdani Art Foundation is proud to support the exhibition of Shumon Ahmed's 'Metal Graves' at the Kochi Muziris Biennale 2014. This work previously exhibited at the Dhaka Art Summit.
Shumon Ahmed, Bangladesh (Metal Graves: photographs)
Chittagong in the Bay of Bengal marks the journey’s end for many of the world’s ships. Having out-served their function as working vessels, they are disassembled to their basic element: steel. Steel is the metonym of modernity, the element that makes the entirety. The ship-breaking yards in Chittagong mark Bangladesh’s progress in the modern world, as measured by urban growth and industrialisation. Progress is insatiable, fuelled by the profits to be made in the desire to reshape the future. Cheap, expendable labour and disregard for environmental contamination conspire to sustain a profitable industry and 90 per cent of Bangladesh’s steel. Progress comes at a price. The beached and broken ships at Chittagong are monuments to the globalised world they helped create. They embody nostalgia for a lost past, journeys beyond the horizon, extending back beyond the life of any one vessel to the embryos of our modern world in Europe’s Age of Discovery, colonialism, conquest and commercial rivalry. Just as modernity transforms and remakes all that it touches, these ships in their metal graves, like all monuments, stand mute between the past and an uncertain future.
See the link below for Shumon Ahmed's interview at asianetnews: